Lauren Rubenstein

Get your pantry in order with these handy organization ideas.

Pantries can be a lifesaver for kitchen organization—but they can also become an oversized junk drawer, a go-to hideaway for all household overflow. To properly organize your pantry, first make sure you take a thorough inventory of what’s stored there, throwing away any expired food in particular. Second, separate your items into things that you use every day, and things that you may use less frequently. Most-used items should be within easy reach—on the shelves between waist and eye level—and less-used items should be relegated to the lowest and highest portion of your pantry. Finally, before you start re-filling your pantry, check out these five tricks to keep your pantry streamlined for the long haul.  

Install Pullout Shelving
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a Downton Abbey-style walk-in pantry. If yours is tight, pullout shelving is a must—it eliminates digging, and helps you immediately take stock of what’s in your pantry.

Utilize Clear Glass Jars
As simple and streamlined as it may look, it’s not necessary to dump all your food into clear glass jars—but, for messy baking supplies that come paper packaging (like flour and sugar), or everyday items like cereal and oatmeal, lidded glass jars are a godsend. They allow you to keep your food fresher, and to easily see when you need to restock.

Incorporate a Lazy Susan
Perfect for narrow bottles of spices and other small jars, an inexpensive Lazy Susan makes locating small-scale (and easily misplaced) pantry items a breeze. These handy kitchen staples are also available in multi-level towers, to help you use all the vertical space your shelving has to offer.

Buy Wire Bins
Invest in a few wire baskets or bins to corral smaller packaged items, like taco seasoning, yeast packets, or single-serving snacks. Also consider getting a few larger wire baskets to place on your lower shelving for everyday staples like onions and potatoes.

Put up a Pegboard
Place an inexpensive pegboard outfitted with handy hooks on the inside of your pantry door (or along the inside wall of your walk-in pantry) to organize hanging items like kitchen brooms, dustpans, aprons, and reusable shopping bags. If your pantry is deep enough, you can also hang slim metal basket organizers to store items like aluminum foil and plastic baggie boxes.